Building peace in the minds of men and women

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

6 April

In August 2013, the UN General Assembly made the decision to proclaim 6 April as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

UNESCO is the United Nations’ lead agency for Physical Education and Sport (PES). UNESCO believes that sport is a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality and youth empowerment, with benefits that are felt far beyond the stadiums. Indeed, the values acquired in and through sport – such as fair play and a team spirit – are invaluable to the whole of society.

Why sport?

Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play. But one may wonder: what does sport have to do with the United Nations? In fact, sport presents a natural partnership for the United Nations (UN) system, including UNESCO:

  • sport and play are human rights that must be respected and enforced worldwide;
  • sport has been increasingly recognized and used as a low-cost and high-impact tool in humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts, not only by the UN system but also by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governments, development agencies, sports federations, armed forces and the media.

Sport can no longer be considered a luxury within any society but is rather an important investment in the present and future, particularly in developing countries.

MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL

"Regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, sport is enjoyed by all; its reach is unrivalled. More importantly, though, sport promotes universal values that transcend language and culture, particularly inclusion. History abounds with examples of inspiring stories of how expanding sporting opportunity leads to greater inclusion in society overcoming prejudice against women, ethnic minorities and people living with a disability."

— Audrey Azoulay, Directrice générale, on the occasion of International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

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